Inflammation: Evil of the century ?

By Doctor Phillippe Guerin

Article N ° 2 – Metaflammation: Beneficial effects of adapted physical activity

The therapeutic effects of fasting have been described in the first article on inflammation. The practice of fasting should never be isolated and during our “Fasting & Health” retreats, our team offers various other activities in order to optimize the fight against inflammation and its perverse effects.

Physical activities

People suffering from chronic diseases (obesity, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, etc.) are often sedentary with significant muscle weakness and restricted walking abilities. This sedentary lifestyle dramatically reduces life expectancy (around 70,000 premature deaths per year in France, more than smoking alone, because it affects more people); this is explained by the build-up of proteins and dysfunctional cell organelles that cause our cells to degenerate and die. A sedentary lifestyle dangerously promotes the phenomena of aging in "apparently good health" (1-2) and strengthens all the causes of mortality (3).

Fight between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory proteins

Physical activity leads to the production of proteins that can be qualified as standard (cytokines) during the onset of stress (exertion is stress!) and other specific ones, such as myokines, secreted by the muscles in action. The first ones, pro- inflammatory, react to stress caused by exertion. In response to this pro- inflammation, other anti-inflammatory cytokines are produced and secreted,
protecting the body. It is therefore training and regular physical activity that stabilizes this anti-inflammatory effect.

Myokines are then produced depending on the duration and intensity of physical activity. One of them, Irisin, induces changes in adipose tissue under the skin by stimulating the production of brown fats, which are involved in body temperature regulation (4); however, the main quality of Irisin is to promote autophagy, a complex phenomenon which allows the cellular digestion of damaged metabolites for the purpose of sparing and saving cells or on the contrary, allowing the destruction of damaged cells that are potentially dangerous for the body.

Synergy of fasting and physical activity

These protective autophagy phenomena are induced by exercise and by “cell starvation” a situation one encountered during a fasting. Adapted physical activities (endurance and resistance work) and fasting therefore have synergistic actions by amplifying the autophagic process, by acting on glucose metabolism (fight against insulin resistance) and by reducing systemic inflammation. In practice, a
sedentary lifestyle makes it difficult to resume physical activities. It is therefore a case of offering a personalized program for restarting or adapting one’s physical activities, comparable to training sessions for athletes.

Progressiveness and regularity of physical activity, is this a key?

Regular physical activities, of progressive intensity, are the guarantors of a return to a better autonomy and a reduction in the overall inflammation of our bodies.

Contrary to some long established beliefs, moderate and regular physical activity does not make you lose weight. It is, however, essential and sufficient to trigger the anti-inflammatory phenomena described above; it also helps with overall well-being, reduces stress and indirectly helps with weight loss.

During our “Fast & Health” retreats, physical activities are practiced daily. To control chronic pathologies, the benefits of one “retreat” are not enough. It is important to understand that it will be necessary to organize yourself “post-fasting” in order to continue your practice of regular physical activities. The minimum recommended by our health authorities is to walk for 30 minutes per day (or 150 minutes per week)*. Resistance training (working with rubber bands, with weights, etc.) should be added to this strict minimum, as it will accelerate the phenomena of autophagy and therefore help reduce systemic inflammation.

We will see in the third article that other non-drug treatments are beneficial for our health by, once again, effectively fighting inappropriate inflammation.

* We walk better if we have a goal. It doesn’t matter which one. Whether it is walking
on the Santiago de Compostela way, walking to the shops to try find the fruits or
vegetables for a new seasonal recipe, walking leisurely around a park or garden to
admire the reflection of colours in the sun, to photograph landscapes or just walking
and talking with someone, it’s all good. We are hunter-gatherers and thanks to this
“little sense of curiosity in us” specific to our species, we can learn about what drives
us to go beyond the initial effort we had intended to make (5-6-7).

Dr. Philippe Guérin

Doctor Philippe Guérin supervises fasting retreats in France, in our Fasting & Health institute where he uses a comprehensive medicalized and personalized approach for sustainable weight loss with a stress free groundwork preparation for implementing long-term habit-based dietary behaviour changes.

(1) Mirko Pesce and Col. Irisin and autophagy: first update Int J Mol Sci 2020 Oct; 21 (20): 7587
(2) Charles M. Tipton The history of “Exercise Is Medicine” in ancient civilizations Adv Physiol Educ.
2014 Jun; 38 (2): 109–117.
C3%A9%20renforce%20toutes%20les,de%20d % C3% A9pression% 20et% 20d'anxi% C3%
A9t% C3% A9.
(4) BCS Boa and Col. Exercise effects on perivascular adipose tissue: endocrine and paracrine
determinants of vascular function. Br J Pharmacol. 2017 Oct; 174 (20): 3466–3481
(5) Bernard Olivier Life begins at 60. Libretto
(6) Dr Eric Griez Healing by walking. Ed. Eyrolles
(7) Pascal Picq. Walking Ed. Otherwise